Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-183
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-183
28 Feb 2024
 | 28 Feb 2024

Rare earth element resources on Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain: a geochemical and mineralogical approach

Marc Campeny, Inmaculada Menéndez, Luis Quevedo, Jorge Yepes, Ramón Casillas, Agustina Ahijado, Jorge Méndez-Ramos, and José Mangas

Abstract. Rare earth elements (REEs) play a pivotal role in the ongoing energy and mobility transition challenges. Given their critical importance, governments worldwide and especially from the European Union, are actively promoting the exploration of REE resources. In this context, alkaline magmatic rocks (including trachytes, phonolites, syenites, melteigites and ijolites), carbonatites and their associated weathering products were subjected to a preliminary evaluation as potential targets for REE exploration on Fuerteventura Island (Canary Archipelago, Spain) based on mineralogical and geochemical studies. These lithologies show significant REE concentrations. However, only carbonatites exhibit the potential to host economically viable REE mineral deposits. REE concentrations in carbonatites of up to 10,301.83 ppm REY (REEs plus yttrium) have been detected, comparable to other locations hosting significant deposits of these critical elements worldwide. Conversely, alkaline magmatic rocks and the resulting weathering products display limited REE enrichment. Notably, REEs in carbonatites are associated with primary accessory phases such as REE-bearing pyrochlore and britholite, and secondary monazite. The carbonatites of Fuerteventura hold promise as prospective REE deposits within a non-conventional geological setting (oceanic island). However, due to intricate structural attributes and possible land use constraints, additional future detailed investigations are imperative to ascertain their genuine economic viability as substantial REE resources.

Marc Campeny, Inmaculada Menéndez, Luis Quevedo, Jorge Yepes, Ramón Casillas, Agustina Ahijado, Jorge Méndez-Ramos, and José Mangas

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-183', Michael Anenburg, 20 Mar 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Marc Campeny, 02 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-183', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Mar 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Marc Campeny, 08 Apr 2024
Marc Campeny, Inmaculada Menéndez, Luis Quevedo, Jorge Yepes, Ramón Casillas, Agustina Ahijado, Jorge Méndez-Ramos, and José Mangas
Marc Campeny, Inmaculada Menéndez, Luis Quevedo, Jorge Yepes, Ramón Casillas, Agustina Ahijado, Jorge Méndez-Ramos, and José Mangas

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Short summary
Rare earth elements (REEs), crucial metals for the energy transition and often referred to as the "vitamins of the industry," were investigated on the oceanic island of Fuerteventura (Spain). Analyzing igneous rocks, we found that Fuerteventura's carbonatites (igneous rocks composed of carbonates) may potentially contain significant resources of these extremely critical elements.